November 12, 2010
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Contact: Public Affairs Office
The Florida Department of Corrections has become only the second state prison system in the United States to have a Pre-Doctoral Psychology Internship Program accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). The APA Committee on Accreditation made this decision at its November 9th meeting in Washington, D.C. The accreditation was granted for a period of seven years, the maximum allowed by the APA. Florida DOC now joins ten other accredited internship sites at state and federal correctional facilities in the country.
“Accreditation of our psychology internship program is a distinction that reflects the Department’s continued commitment to professionalism and excellence in treating mentally ill offenders and preparing them for re-entry into their communities,” said Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Walt McNeil.
Dean Aufderheide, PhD., Director of Mental Health Services at the Florida Department of Corrections began the first internship class in 2007 with the goal of producing highly trained entry level psychologists who would be retained as correctional psychologists in the Department. Dr. Aufderheide’s vision to “Train and Retain” Psychology Interns has had both short-term and long-term benefits to the Department, including the recent APA accreditation.
Over the last three years, interns have provided high quality, in-depth patient assessment and treatment, and several of the interns have, after graduation, been hired as employees with the Department.
“Congratulations to all Department staff who have been involved with the internship program and its success in becoming accredited by the American Psychological Association in the state prison systems in the United States,” said Secretary McNeil.
“Accreditation by the American Psychological Association is a hallmark accomplishment and will result in attracting the best and brightest candidates who are interested in pursuing a career in correctional psychology,” McNeil said. “I want to personally thank Dr. Aufderheide for his vision in establishing and developing the internship program and also to thank Dr. Carolyn Holmes, who served as the Internship Training Director throughout the rigorous 2-year accreditation process. Her unwavering commitment to the excellence of the training program was essential in achieving this milestone accreditation.”
The Florida Department of Corrections is the third largest state corrections system in the country and is a respected national leader in corrections due to its innovations and insistence on quality. Health Services is an integral and constitutionally required element in the Florida Department of Corrections’ services, and is responsible for the physical and mental care of all 102,000 inmates in its care, custody, and control.
The American Psychological Association is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States, and is the largest association of psychologists in the world. APA’s membership includes more than 150,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.